Blog: The Power of Community

21st June 2022

With lots of stammering groups starting to meet in person again after two years, our Network & Campaigns Lead Vee Meyners says now's a great time to join one.

It's a basic human need to connect with and feel valued by others. We all want to be part of something that we resonate with — whether that's a book club, a pottery class or a support group. I'm tapping into this human desire. 

I'm Vee, Network & Campaigns Lead here at STAMMA. This role feels like a nail on the head for me: I'm an absolute people person. My role is to enable people to get together, share their experiences in a non-judgemental space and maybe make a friend along the way. I bring people together who have at least one thing in common: they stammer or are affected by stammering through a family member or friend. 

Many people felt a fatigue after X number of meetings online... the real human connection was missing.

Communities took a real hit during the pandemic; gatherings were prohibited and many people felt a fatigue after X number of meetings online; there was simply no interest or a lack of technical savvy. Why? Because the real human connection was missing. 

Now, I get excited about group leaders sending me emails saying, "Please update our website info, we're going to resume our meetings in person again...". Since I started the role in January, I have successfully set up two new groups (more to follow) and I've helped more to resume their meetings in person. I've attended many online meetings held by groups all around the UK myself and can't wait until I can attend my first one in person and meet everyone. I don't have a stammer myself, but the power of community in those meetings I've attended was all too clear. 

But why would you take my word for it?

Bhupinder set up Coventry Stammerers in 2021. She's a member of our Youth Panel as well and is very active in the community. She said, "I'm so happy with how the group's been growing. I set up it up because I felt really isolated; I felt ashamed of my stammer and couldn't show people who I was. Coventry Stammerers has really helped me to change my mindset about stammering. It's helped me to find my space."

An attendee of the Doncaster Stammering Association shared this with me: "When I attended the Doncaster meetings after a bad day at work and felt a bit rubbish about myself and my stammer — after those couple of hours I've been absolutely buzzing and thought: I've got this, I can do everything I want!"

It's feedback like this that makes me love my job. 

Have a look at our Local Groups page to see whether there's one in your area or check out our Online Events Calendar to see the groups that continue to hold meetings online. Bob for example, leader of the Doncaster group, has regular attendees from all over the UK and even from the US. Or, if you'd like to set up your own group near you, I'm happy to help with that too. You can reach me at verena.meyners@stamma.org